Red Sox Preview: Phillies come to town


The Boston Red Sox (61-72) welcome the Philadelphia Phillies (53-81) to town this weekend in a battle of last place teams.

Boston is coming off of a disappointing series loss to the New York Yankees, dropping two out of three games at home against their rivals this week. The silver lining to one of those losses was that the much maligned Rick Porcello delivered another brilliant performance in his second start since returning from the disabled list. Perhaps the time off did him some good, allowing him to fix the mechanical flows that derailed his season.

More from Red Sox News

Philadelphia also lost two out of three to a division rival from New York this week. The Phillies continue to toil away at the bottom of the standings with the most losses in the majors, but their offense has at least shown signs of life lately. While they had one of the most anemic offenses in the league through the first half of the season, the Phillies have been top-10 in the majors in runs scored since the break. They are still losing games, but at least the Phillies are putting up more of a fight.

These two teams last met to open the season back in April. Boston won on Opening Day in Philadelphia on their way to winning the series two games to one. That began a promising start in which the Red Sox won each of their first three series before the wheels started to come off.

Pitching Matchups @ Fenway Park 

September 4 @ 7:10 PM

September 5 @ 4:05 PM

September 6 @ 1:35 PM

Projected lineup for today’s game:

Series Notes:

  • Hanley Ramirez has missed the last 6 games as he continues to be bothered by shoulder issues. There is still no timetable for his return, but the Red Sox hope to see him again in game action before the season ends. If he does return, we know it won’t be in left field. He continues to run drills at first base in preparation of a transition to the position next season, but we may catch a glimpse of him there this year.
  • Allen Craig is getting his first start at first base since being recalled from Pawtucket in the series opener. Craig came in to play right field mid-way through Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Yankees, drawing a walk in both trips to the plate. He’s hitting a pitiful .135 in 25 games this season, but his stint in the minors led to some progress at the plate.
  • The Red Sox continue to experiment with Pablo Sandoval in the two-hole, despite that he owns a .268 OBP since the break. It doesn’t seem to be working, as the Panda is only 2 for his last 24 at the plate.
  • The Phillies cleaned house by unloading several expensive veterans around the trade deadline. In addition to Hamels, Philadelphia also waived good-bye to Chase Utley and Jonathan Papelbon.

Key Hitters:

Red Sox – Blake Swihart

  • When the Red Sox opened the season in Philadelphia there was a lot of talk about their interest in Cole Hamels. The Phillies have since shipped their ace off to Texas, but when rumors were flying about Boston putting together a package to acquire the veteran lefty, one name that kept popping up as being on the Phillies wish list was Swihart. Boston refused to part with the top rated catcher in the minors and the rookie is now starting to show why they were right to keep him. Swihart is hitting .348/.412/.478 in 26 games since the break.

PhilliesRyan Howard

  • There aren’t many familiar faces left in this Phillies lineup, as most of the veterans that made up their championship core from last decade are gone now. Howard and his immovable contract still remains. The 35-year old slugger is a shell of his former self, but he still leads his team in homers and RBI. The good news for the Red Sox is that Howard has never homered in 8 career games at Fenway Park.


Game One Winner – Red Sox

Joe Kelly recently became the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez to go 6-0 in a single month. Can he carry that momentum into September? He probably won’t go undefeated the rest of the way with a sub-3.00 ERA, but he should at least get this month off to a good start against the lowly Phillies.

Game Two Winner – Red Sox

Miley has been slightly better at home this season, so we’ll give him the edge over the 23-year old rookie making his second career start. Asher failed to make it through 6 innings against a weak Padres lineup in his debut, so I suspect he’ll have an even more difficult time navigating this Red Sox lineup on the road.

Game Three Winner – Phillies

For reasons that remain mystifying, Rodriguez has been dominant in night games (7-1, 1.68 ERA) and a complete disaster during the day (1-4, 9.27 ERA). Maybe he’s just not a morning person and doesn’t like when he’s not allowed to sleep in. Sunday’s afternoon start time doesn’t bode well for the rookie.

More from BoSox Injection